More recent events such as the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant might be gradually overshadowing it now, but earlier this month the whole country was riveted to their media news sources while following the developments of the sudden eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas, which began in January 12. Following the grossly inconvenienced and economically-damaging steam eruption that blanketed the Taal environs with ash-fall, Filipinos waited with bated breath for the explosive eruption phase that the national volcanology institute has warned of and kept wary eye on. Weeks later, that catastrophe has not only failed to happen, but Taal also seems to be calming.
According to Inquirer.net, Taal Volcano which has been perceived since last month to be just one bad day away from going fully boom now appears to be de-escalating in its activity. This was indicated by the morning bulletin from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) released at 8AM this Wednesday, February 5. The update stated that emissions of sulfur dioxide from Taal have plummeted dramatically since yesterday, February 4. From Tuesday’s 231 tons of sulfur dioxide it had dropped all the way down to just 55 tons the daily average. Even the steam emissions were now visibly smaller.
Measurements by PHIVOLCS also noted the smaller size of the steam emission from the Volcano Island, reaching only between 50 and 100 meters up in the air, in a formation that was blown by the wind to the southeast. Meanwhile, a multitude of seismic earthquakes continue to be picked up by the Taal Volcano Network, 156 in all plus harmonic tremors number 18 and two more events that were too low-frequency to be accurately measured. Regardless of all these, PHIVOLCS maintains Alert Level 3 over Taal, warning that there remains a possibility of gas explosions affecting the surrounding lakeside area.
Nevertheless, evacuees from the original chaotic week that Taal Volcano first demonstrated its pent-up power have begun filtering back to the ash-covered cities and municipalities ringing the lake where the complex volcano is situated. With help from the military and civilian volunteers, buildings are gradually being swept clean of volcanic ash and debris, the buildup of which has since collapsed the roofs of weaker structures. Volcano Island on the other hand remains out of bounds.
Image from GMA News